Quebec's vaccine chief defends his past management of health authority where elderly were mistreated

·2 min read

The government official in charge of Quebec's COVID-19 vaccination program says he knew nothing about the mistreatment of seniors at a facility that was under his authority.

Daniel Paré is currently away from his post at the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches to oversee the largest vaccination effort in modern Quebec history.

On Friday, the Chaudière-Appalaches health authority released a report detailing how residents at a private seniors residence under its jurisdiction — the Manoir Liverpool in Lévis — were underfed, infrequently changed and bathed, and given expired medication for years.

The report found that residents "were subject to at least two types of mistreatment: physical and organizational."

Quebec's minister for seniors, Marguerite Blais, had publicly called on Paré to respond to the report. Paré issued a statement on Saturday.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press
Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

He said monitoring systems had failed "to detect the mistreatment that was taking place at Manor Liverpool," adding that had he known, he would have "acted sooner."

He said the treatment of the residents was "totally unacceptable and extremely sad." He also said he made sure no new patients were admitted to the Manoir Liverpool after Radio-Canada revealed allegations of neglect last spring.

"As director of the CISSS, I ordered the investigation into Manoir Liverpool when I saw that malicious practices were taking place in the residence," he said in the statement.

"In addition, a monitoring team has been set up to regularly visit the residence to ensure the quality of services."

Paré refused a follow-up request for an interview. The Quebec coroner is also conducting an investigation into several non-COVID related deaths at the residence.

On Saturday, Blais said she was shocked by the findings of the report and called on all regional health boards in the province to submit a plan to monitor the quality of care provided at facilities under their jurisdiction.

Blais said regional health boards need to be held accountable for what goes on at both private and public seniors' residences.

She gave them until Feb. 26 to submit their plans.